Never Give Up

This is just past the half-way mark for National Novel Writing Month. I should have passed the 25,000 word mark this week.   I must say this week has been less than stellar for making progress and I am not where I should be.   I was on the road this week with work.   It was a week fraught with other things pulling at me in all directions none of them giving a rip roar about  this little adventure I was on.   Now it seems that I am coming down with something nasty and my head is not doing a lot of clear thinking.   It sounds like I am going to throw in the towel.

I thought about quitting.    I even stayed in bed late this morning hoping a little more sleep time would make me feel better.   It did not and I considered giving up for this year.  Then I thought about a friend who in just a few minutes will be starting her first half-marathon tonight in LasVegas.   She is doing it with friends, one of whom had this on her life list.   The other five are just there for moral support.   She is busy, with as many things as I have, pulling at her as well.   In the midst of this training she has come down with knee and foot problems.   It would have been easier for her to quit, but she made a commitment not only to her friends but herself to be there for her friends.

I made this commitment to myself, and I plan to keep it.  If you are thinking of quitting, don’t just yet.   Hang in there for yourself, it was important enough for you to start it, don’t let yourself not finish it. If you are not working on some goal right this minute, be there to encourage your family and friends who are.   I curse the lost of anonymity on the internet all the time, but for once I am having fun watching and cheering on my friend who I can’t be  there for virtually.   I  plan to be one of the first to text my friend when the live race reporting shows her bib number has crossed the finish line.   I am proud to be in the company of those who never give up.

 

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New Shoes

shoes

As I train for this year’s races I am forced to deal with the idea that my shoes are on the downward side of being serviceable for another year of races and distance walking.   Shoes if you wear them to walk around for a day of shopping only wear out when they burst at the seams and fall apart.   If you use your shoes for fitness then there is a definite time when they no longer provide the kind of support and protection you need from your shoes.   It all depends on what you do for fitness, the time you spend the the shoes, your feet and yes even your body (how you stand, your gait, and even your weight).

There are lots of guidelines when to replace your shoes, but if you use them for serious running or walking you know when they start to loose their effectiveness and it is time to replacement.    That is the easy part.    The hard part is fining a new pair of shoes.    In the runner’s world the running shoe is constantly evolving and their are hundreds if not thousands of models out there.  I can’t imagine how you pick a new shoe if your model has been discontinued.

If you are a serious distance walker it is much harder as there are not many shoes made specifically for walking.    Walking is significantly different body motion than running and the shoes are just as different.   Putting on running shoes and walking a half marathon doesn’t really work.   I have had many sports fitness stores convince me otherwise and I have sent many perfectly good running shoes to Goodwill after blisters and other foot problems training wearing those shoes.   I have learned my lesson and restrict my purchases now to shoes designed for just distance/fitness walking.    So I am back to my favorite maker of walking shoes and weighing out current model one looks best to plunk my hard-earned cash down on.   It is time to start breaking in a new pair of walking shoes.   My feet are telling me to retire my current pair.

Getting Answers

The Madison is not only the highest road marathon in America, but it also likes walkers.

The Madison is not only the highest road marathon in America, but it also likes walkers.

I get on this frustrating bandwagon at this time each year. I look around for a half marathon to finish in Montana’s short summer.   I have picked three half marathons that I would like to do this year.   Now I am busy trying to get answers from the race staff on if they support walkers.      I finish a half marathon in roughly  four hours and some.   Most race organizers want to pack up and go home  in about 3 1/2 hours.    I learned from another plus-size athlete not to let races take your entry fee and then not treat you with respect by rolling up  and going home before you finish.   Ask first and if they don’t plan to be here when you cross the finish, don’t give them your money.

I have finished a half marathon before.   I have a personal best I am trying to improve upon.  Not many people can say that.   It puts me in company of an elite group.   I am worth

Keep watch as I work may way through this mine field of trying to finish one…maybe two or three half marathons this summer.

My Favorite Ankle Biter

Me training with my favorite ankle biter.

Me training with my favorite ankle biter.

I am training for a half marathon.   It means I must do more than just casual walking that I normally do.  I have a treadmill, but only use it as a necessary evil.  I prefer to walk outside.     I am careful when I walking, know that bad things can happen to good people.   Last year a Montana woman was nabbed when she was out running.  She was going much faster than I will ever be able to move.   It happened in a small town with an oil boom.   It doesn’t stop me from being out there trying to get ready for my race.   It means that I am conscious of the choices I make and try to make choices that lower my risk.

One of my risk reducing activities is walking with  my little Cairn Terrier.   He is not much to look at as far as a protector goes.     He does not strike fear in people the way a Rottweiler, German Shepard or other full-sized dog may.   In spite of that he is my guardian when I walk.   He keeps watch and lets me know what is going on long before I notice.   He was a rescue  dog and is not everyone’s friend.   He is unsure of men, folks with boots and folks who sneak up on him.   He has terrier energy and is glad to walk miles with me.

He is a perfect companion for me  as I train.   My dog and my favorite ankle biter.

Smart Training

Harley my  personal pacesetter.

Harley my personal pacesetter.

Once again this year I plan to walk a half marathon or two.   The first one is early in the season and it is time to get serious about my training schedule.   One of the hardest parts of getting ready is training smart.   Not only do you need to find the right training schedule to prepare you for race day.   On the other side of training smart involves safety.   I always think of a woman who was nabbed when running  in Northeastern Montana.   There is nothing you can do to prevent a nut who wants to nab a woman, but there are lots of things you can do to put yourself at the least amount of risk.  Some of the things I do to help my odds:

  • Don’t walk before the sun is fully up.   
  • Wear your reflective safety vest
  • If you must wear headphones, don’t wear them blasting.
  • Walking with a dog, even an ankle biter will can alert you to things you might miss before they are upon you.
  • Let someone know when you leave and should be back.
  • Don’t walk the same time and place every time.

Don’t let fear be your excuse not to get out there, but be smart.

My Half Marathon of the Season Announced

After searching for 3 half marathons for this summer that I can walk, and have support for my likely finish in the realm of 4 hours, I have come up short.  It is that request to have support 4 hours that seems to be the killer.  I have decided if I only do two then I am going to need to do a few 5 or 10ks this summer as well.  All the details are yet to be lined out but  I am going to do the following two half marathons.

The Madison Marathon, July 24th, at 9,587 feet above sea level.  It is the highest road marathon in the US.

The Sweathouse Marathon, September 10, in Victor, MT.

Montana’s race season is short, and I am disappointed that I only came up with two, when tell you more about the first half marathon you realize that I picked the race that going to kick my butt seriously.

My Favorite Training Plan

Every sport requires a training plan to perform at your  best. Distance walking is a sport and it too requires a training plan.   As  I plan for another summer walking  half marathons I have pulled out my training schedule from last year.  I choose this schedule because it works around the fact that I have a “real  job” that requires a significant part of my day Monday through Friday.  It comes from marathon walking website.  It is a site I have bookmarked  as a favorite, and come back to often for reference.  Distance walking and running have lots  but there are differences and this site helps with some of the nuances specific to walking.  

I am hoping that a second summer of distance walking will allow me to improve my personal best time, heck my only time.   Finishing in under four hours is my first goal, then we can pick a minutes per mile goal.   Maybe a by-product of this will be a  the loss of a few pounds and improvements in my overall health.  Let the training begin, it is the first step to walk a half-marathon